The Italian Catholic writer Miguel Cuartero Samperi wrote in the online journal Roma Giornale Online that CEI is joining with the militant extreme left Italian Radical Party in the name of Pope Francis to organize and promote their “March for Amnesty, Justice, Freedom” project, presumably the first of many such cooperative efforts.
There is a pretty big tendency in the current crisis for Catholics to look for the coming of the cavalry at the last second. As Catholics, we are accustomed to being led and it is difficult for us to relinquish the notion that this or that “conservative” cardinal or bishop is going to come galloping to our rescue, confront the Pope and publicly denounce his heresies and blasphemies and demand that he retract or resign.
Some traditionalist writers are starting to attempt to steer away from this comforting idea of rescue by a superheroic bishop, and towards a more realistic picture of the kind of men we are looking to for aid and a more robust acceptance of a more active role for the laity.
This effort can be seen in the Italian traditional sphere as well, and this week we have been given a bleak picture through that lens.
American observers of the Italian political scene are often shocked by the openness with which Marxism and the extreme far end of anarchistic socialism operates in the highest levels of government and political discourse here. No Italian would ever be shocked, as Americans and Canadians certainly would be, to see the hammer and sickle device prominently displayed at events like the Gay Pride parade in Rome and all sorts of more mainline political rallies and demonstrations.
Most North Americans have no idea how commonplace it is for Italian priests and even bishops to openly operate as Communist agitators or sympathizers. No one is embarrassed in Italy to call himself a Communist, and American squeamishness over admitting the existence of the extreme left is a constant source of political levity.
It is in this context that the Church has now thrown off all pretense and formally come into an alliance with the Italian Radical party. And Francis is being frankly cited as the origin of a major swing to the extreme left by the Italian bishops.
In his piece “Catholics without shepherds? The Italian bishops in the square with Radicals,” Samperi writes of a concordat between CEI and the nation’s leading abortion promoters, the Radical Party.
Samperi notes that this alliance has “surprised many Catholics, who are disappointed over the handshake between the Italian bishops and the party that has always stood out against the Church hierarchy and against its principles, particularly on sensitive issues such as the legalization of drugs, abortion and euthanasia,” and more recently the “gender ideology” and “LGBT” political agenda.
“Some have bravely raised their voices pointing out the absurdity of the initiative: in fact, in the past, the CEI has never adhered to events organized by political parties, much less shown particular sympathy for slogans and radical battles,” he adds.
The Radical Party is the face of Italian Marxist anti-Catholicism, with a mandate specifically to overturn any and all laws upholding Catholic social or moral teaching, and excluding the Church from any voice in public life. The Radicals have been prominent in every political battle since the 70s to bring to Italy legalized divorce, contraception, abortion and (the so far failed attempt) at euthanasia. Under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the Church in the person of the Italian bishops (mostly) opposed these efforts.
Want More Hilary White?
“But with Pope Francis, things have changed,” Samperi writes. Remnant readers will recall the pope’s warm regard for Italy’s abortionist-in-chief, Sra. Emma Bonino, a Radical Party doyenne and George Soros protégée, who became one of Europe’s most active and effective promoters of the Soros “open borders,” proposals at the EU. Emma Bonino has been deeply involved in every one of her party’s battles to promote homosexuality and “gender ideology” in elementary schools through agreements with the Council of Europe. As Italy’s Foreign Minister she has promoted the Radical Party’s extremist agenda abroad as part of an internationalist cabal of leftist politicians acting outside national boundaries - with Soros paying for the airfares.
Samperi notes the incident last year in which Francis, in an interview referred to Bonino – who famously started her career in politics as an illegal abortionist with a home-made vacuum aspirator consisting of a jam jar and a bicycle pump – as “one of Italy’s greats,” because of her work in Africa. Bonino has never retracted or apologised for her boast of having killed at least 10,000 Italian babies by then-illegal abortion and for having used an Italian law to escape prosecution by entering Parliament on the Radical Party ticket.
Samperi now writes, “The honeymoon between the Catholic Church and the Radical Party today results in a march where bishops and radicals will go hand in hand asking for amnesty on the occasion of the ‘Jubilee of the prisoners.’”
He notes that this active involvement in a leftist-favourite issue can be contrasted with the refusal of CEI to get involved with recent “Family Day” demonstrations against a proposed “civil unions” law that would include adoption of children by same-sex partners and the legalization of “uterus-for-rent” or surrogacy. The bishops cited their political neutrality at that time to excuse themselves from supporting two large rallies in favour of traditional marriage and family in June 2015 at the piazza of St. John Lateran in Rome and in January 2016 at the Circus Maximus (at which there was only one bishop present.)
This refusal by the bishops to support the campaign to save the natural family in Italian law resulted in smaller than anticipated turnout for the rallies in Rome and finally in the passage of the bill. This was in spite of polls showing that the great majority of Italians (85%) had no desire to see legalized “gay marriage” in Italy or children being deprived of their natural rights to normal family life.
The Cirinnà bill to create “gay marriage” and legalize surrogacy was, however, heavily promoted by the country’s secularist elites, with newspapers publishing stories of “rainbow families” created by artificial insemination in surrogates “to satisfy the desire for fatherhood and motherhood.”
Samperi wrote in January 2016 that Italians were barraged with “articles, interviews and opinions of prominent personalities of the scientific world and show business favorable to the approval” of the Cirinnà Bill. Not only the leftist journals La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, but also La Stampa (that serves as the pope’s unofficial mouthpiece for the mainstream media) and Il Messaggero who were “offering a colored vision reality by relying on the feeling to favor individual ‘rights’ of adults.”
At the June 2015 rally at St. John Lateran, Samperi reports, “CEI retained … a cold and detached attitude” with no cardinals appearing “among the hundreds of thousands who braved the unusual rain on the lawn of the square of Saint John.” The bishops’ newspaper, Avvenire, ignored the event and in the lead up “few voices [of Italian bishops] were raised to support families against the government attacks.”
Samperi notes that although the 2016 rally was supported by a broad coalition of “New Movements” [Neocatechumenal Way, Movement for Life, Article 26 Committee, Manif Pour Tous - Generation Family, Standing Sentinels, Catholic Alliance, Christian Identity, Jurists for life, Renewal in the Spirit, the Community of John XXIII] as well as Jewish and Muslim groups, prominently absent were the groups closest to CEI – and therefore most politically powerful - Communion and Liberation and Sant’ Egidio, two “movements” which combine a “liberal” agenda for the Church with close ties to government.
Since then, despite some words of support from Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, CEI has so far distanced itself from the pro-life and pro-family movement in Italy as to make unprecedented alliances such as that with the Radicals. The party’s own website on October 19th prominently features a photo of bishops assembled in the Paul VI conference hall in the Vatican under the headline “Justice, Radical Party: the CEI (Italian Episcopal Conference) joined the march for amnesty.”
This week, the signals for CEI’s new direction are even more clear. The Radical party proudly announces that the march “organized for 6 November in Rome by the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and transparty, on the occasion of the Jubilee of prisoners, will wind through the streets of the capital from the prison of Regina Coeli to Piazza San Pietro.”
The CEI secretary Don Ivan Maffeis spoke on Radio Radicale, saying, “The CEI looked carefully into this initiative and, as a general secretary, we give it a steadfast commitment.”
“The initiative is seen by us as an opportunity just to raise awareness” about the prison system. He added that the decision was made by CEI Secretary-general, Monsignor Nunzio Galatino and CEI president Cardinal Bagnasco. He cited poor prison conditions as an area of concern as well as the “heavy reality” of suicides and “broken lives.”
“I think of the frail people who are detained for minor offenses,” Maffeis added, citing the lack of support networks between volunteers and prison chaplains.
Italian Catholic blogger and author Constance Miriano wrote of the “sharp pain” she felt when she heard of the union of the Italian Catholic bishops with the Radical Party’s agenda.
She asks, “What’s going on? Our pastors? Our fathers in the faith? Those who have the duty to confirm? Those who have the high task of proclaiming Jesus crucified and risen Christ to men? Why march with the party who more than anyone has contributed with its death battles to change the deep mentality of contemporary man, and further away from God? …Because a prisoner, whether guilty or innocent, must be defended (and I say that he must be defended!) But a child, surely innocent, in mum’s belly, no?”
She continues, “It is obvious that the CEI and Christians are all in favor of the dignity of the prisoners. I would say that every man who is worthy of the name is…These are minimal human values, impossible not to share them. But why march with the radicals, who claim to have mangled with their hands (and bicycle pumps) thousands of fetuses, children in the bellies of women?
But the ideas of the Radicals, she adds “are irrevocably, structurally, hopelessly, deeply and totally against God.”
“We must love the Radicals as people, but we hate their ideas. We must hate these [ideas] for love of them. Because these ideas, that put man at the center of this world, are unable to put Christ at the centre of the heart, and thus prevent happiness.”